Apple App Store Monopoly May End

John Lister's picture

Apple looks set to allow iPhone and iPad users to get apps from sources other than the official App Store. It's a major change of policy, almost certainly sparked by forthcoming changes to European law.

Analysts predict Apple will find ways to minimize the effect of the change. However, stock prices in many companies that make apps have risen on the assumption they'll make more revenue because Apple won't take a cut of app purchases.

Unlike rival Android, Apple has always kept tight control on the apps users can install, making the App Store the only option without "jailbreaking" the device, a move that void warranties and can cause software update problems.

Law Takes Effect In 2024

Apple has always argued this "walled garden" approach helps it maintain both security and compatibility in apps, boosting the user experience. Critics say the policy not only gives Apple too much control, but allows it to use other unfair policies such as taking 30 percent of any in-app subscriptions, for example to digital publications, dating services and music libraries.

That led to a legal dispute where a court ruled app developers could take payments outside of the app, but weren't allowed to link to, or even mention, this option in the app itself.

Apple has yet to publicly confirm the change in policy to allow apps from outside the Store. Bloomberg, which broke the news, says it will likely only affect users in Europe at first. That's because of a law that takes effect in 2024 and, among other measures, explicitly requires tech companies to let users install third-party apps. (Source:

Security Checks May Remain

The company is said to still be working out its response, with the possibility it may test the spirit of the law, if not the letter. For example, it may insist any app passes a security check, regardless of its source, and it may even charge a fee to carry out this check.

The European law would also theoretically mean Apple has to integrate its messaging services with third party tools. Engineers are said to be resistant to doing so for fear it could compromise iMessage security and privacy features. (Source:

What's Your Opinion?

Should Apple make this change? Is this an area the law should get involved in? If you use an iPhone, would you install software from other sources, for example if apps were cheaper to buy?

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aquaman100_2510's picture

I have not ever used apple because everything is propietory. I know my daughter swears by it because it fits her needs for the arts but I have no need for it so why should I spend money needlessly.

matt_2058's picture

App developers complaining about Apple taking 30%? A 30% difference from producer to consumer is not bad for all the middlemen taking a cut. It's much worse for other industries. Like all business, if developers aren't making enough, rise the price. There's much more with that, but that's a long discussion in itself.

Apple shouldn't do this UNLESS they can control the quality of apps. When I switched from Android, the first thing I noticed was that every app worked.

Government should stay out of this unless they are going to tackle everything else that faintly resembles a corporation controlling the quality and performance of their product.

ifopackets_10683's picture

I can see an Apple fee for selling the app and delivering it.
But for subscriptions and "content", it would be like sending
money to Ford or GM every time you filled your tires or got
an oil change. Etc...